Bullshit Map or (IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS)
A while ago I wanted to get a general idea of how the bullshit in Vancouver was distributed. So I created a simple little Google Map from the results of a few quick searches for nonsense alternative medicine. I called it ‘Bullshit’ and sent the link to a small group of friends who I thought might enjoy it. I basically left it at that and forgot about it.
Today, just over an hour ago, I got a message on Facebook from someone who found his business on my Bullshit map and was, understandably, displeased. He must have followed the link to my Google account, which is linked to my Facebook profile, where he sent me this:
Benjamin Newman 24 March at 15:06
I’m unsure why my business (pillars-of-health) is on your google map entitled “bullshit”… but I would like to kindly ask you to remove me. There are Federal defamation laws around doing things like this.
I have not met you, nor have you ever done business with me and so I am curious as to why I would end up on such a list/map.
Please remove me and remove the map or there may be further action taken in this case from my lawyer.
So I sent him a response:
Jesse Brydle 24 March at 16:23
I never sought your business out specifically. I constructed that map for personal use only and have never distributed it beyond a circle of close friends. It was created with a few simple Google searches for business in the Vancouver area promoting alternative health practices which I believe to be largely ineffective and/or fraudulent. I’ve had a quick look at your site, and I suspect Reiki was the reason for the match. I’d happily remove your business from my “map of bullshit” if you would do one of the following: stop offering services or advice based on Reiki, or send me a link to scientific evidence for the efficacy of Reiki. By ‘scientific’ I don’t mean testimonials, or a solid assurance that you know it works, or some excuse about how long it’s been around. I mean a properly controlled and blinded study from a peer reviewed journal. In the meantime, I’m happy to compromise. I’ve added a comment on the map clarifying what I mean by ‘bullshit’ and reassuring readers that my assessments aren’t meant to be taken as factual statements, merely opinions which have been overwhelmingly supported by the best evidence.
As I said, I had a quick read through your site, and I saw some pretty poor information there. The explanation of Reiki begins by stating that “energy is simply a frequency.” This is flat-out wrong, and frankly makes no sense. You can find the proper definition of energy in many places, including Wikipedia. You talk about light and sound being “frequencies.” Well, that’s part of it. The frequency isn’t the energy, it’s merely the frequency (colour for light, pitch for sound). To get the energy of a wave, you also need to know the amplitude and the speed. But waves aren’t the only form that energy comes in – there’s energy in chemical bonds, a compressed spring, a hot gas with molecules zipping around, etc.
You also offer a misguided explanation of Quantum Physics. You’re sort of right on the whole “small things get fuzzy” part, but those kinds of effects only apply at sizes smaller than the atom, which means it is not “the same for solids, liquids and gases” at all. Quantum Mechanics is a highly mathematical science that can’t be properly understood without an understanding of the underlying equations. It is certainly not an excuse to believe that anything weird is suddenly possible, or that fuzziness on a quantum scale means there are no ‘borders’ in whatever subject you want to talk about.
You go on to talk about chakras and meridians, which 400 years of anatomical study have failed to find any evidence for in any physical sense, and are only ever explained through subjective reports, which we know from psychology are intensely fraught with all kinds of biases and fallacies. I’m afraid there’s simply no good reason to believe in any of this stuff, and charging people to treat them on the basis of poor evidence is, in my opinion, highly irresponsible and dangerous. That’s why you’ve made it to my bullshit map.
Anyway, please either revise your site, or convince me that I’m wrong, and I will happily make changes to the map. I’ll not remove the map, nor will I be threatened by censorship. I really don’t think there are any grounds for a lawsuit, as I have created the map for personal use only, I have made no specific claims, and any insinuations are merely my opinion. But by all means, speak to your lawyer. If you’re familiar with libel lawsuits in the alternative health field, you’ve probably heard of Simon Singh’s case in Britain. He’s being sued by the British Chiropractic Association for rightly calling chiropractic adjustments a “bogus” treatment and the outcome so far is that chiropractors have been told to provide proper scientific evidence for all of their claims, and remove anything from their websites that is not supported by medical science. Wouldn’t that be amazing!
P.S. I reserve the right to publicly share this and any further correspondence as I see fit.
As I said in the response, I also wrote the description of the Bullshit map, which had previously been blank. It was a bit of a ‘cover my ass’ thing, but mainly I hadn’t thought that many people would find the map, so I didn’t bother to offer any explanation. Ben’s message made me realize that there may be people stumbling across the map and not knowing what they’re looking at. By explaining its purpose and providing links, I think I have greatly increased the map’s utility to combat misinformation in Vancouver. Thanks Ben!
I’ll add any further responses I get to this post. In the mean time, if anyone who agrees with me and my map wants to head over there and rate or review it, I’d much appreciate.
Haha! I just had a look at the existing comments on the map:
chanel Updated Jan 1
Hello Jesse,I found you via Canpages. Why do you call your listing “bullshit”? and have so many of them!
Remove my listing from you page immediatly and present your self in person (IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS) and explain it to my face on a Sat or Sun from 11 to 5 (COWARDS HIDE BEHIND THE INTERNET), An email reply is mandatory in cases of defamation without explanation (I HAVE NEVER MET YOU), there is a federal law against defamation. Your immediate action is now mandatory in this case.
From Chanel-owner of the – Granville Island Psychic Studio since 1996 http://www.psychicstudio.ca.
Pillars of Health Updated 2 hours ago
I’m inclined to agree with Chanel. It is defamation….
I have never met you either, and I’m unsure what the point of having this listing is….
I would like an explanation as well, so please contact me as well and remove my business name or there may be further action taken into this matter. Especially if all of the businesses on this map are contacted to show them what you are doing.
Why are threats and censorship always the first thing these people go to? If you believe you’re right, why not just explain it to me (IF YOU HAVE THE BALLS)? They must know on some level that they’re full of shit.
I hadn’t seen chanel’s comment until today, and I never took the “immediate action” he demanded, yet I still haven’t heard from any lawyer. Bring it on dude.